On Tuesday, May 11, the Office of the President announced that for the fall semester, all students returning to in-person learning must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“To ensure that we can return safely and deliver the type of experience our students deserve, Saint Peter’s is requiring all students who will be on campus—undergraduates, graduates, doctoral and professional and continuing studies—to be vaccinated prior to the start of the fall semester,” the announcement states.
The school will require students to submit evidence of their vaccinations via an online form that requests a picture of the student’s vaccination card.
The deadline to submit vaccine documentation is August 6, 2021. Students who have registered for online or off-campus degree programs are not required to be vaccinated.
Some students disagree with the vaccine requirement.
“We would still have to be cautious and wear our masks anyways so I don’t really see why it’s a requirement to get the vaccine,” said Angelica Jacobs, a senior. “Not everyone wants to get it for their own reasons…so I think it’s a bit of a rash decision to require it for on campus students.”
“I think it’s very wrong and students have the right to decide whether or not they’d like to be vaccinated. I’m not going to get vaccinated,” said Justin Koroglu, a sophomore.
Christian Symonette-Als, a senior at SPU, received the vaccination, but does not think it should be required.
“I don’t think it should be a requirement. I’m fully vaccinated saying this, but I don’t think it should be mandatory,” said Symonette-Als. “This is an emergency vaccine and we do not know long term effects yet.”
Dashawn Evans, a senior at SPU, is on the fence about whether or not it should be mandatory.
“To be honest, I think it’s good and bad [because] some students are skeptical about the vaccine’s side effects,” said Evans. “Also, you can still contract covid while vaccinated, but I guess if the population is fully vaccinated, it lowers the chances of contracting the virus.”
Others believe that the vaccination could prevent the pandemic from being prolonged.
“I only got vaccinated to help get rid of the restrictions. If getting vaccinated stops this pandemic, then, that is what should be done,” said Justin Guarcello, a senior.
A student who asked to remain anonymous said they were not planning on receiving the vaccine before the announcement had been made.
“It’s the only reason I’d get the vaccine, I wasn’t planning to otherwise,” they shared.
The school will also consider medical and religious exemptions, “in accordance with the University’s reasonable accommodation policy and procedures.”
The announcement stated that faculty, staff and administrations are “strongly” expected to get the vaccine, but was not clear if vaccinations were required for them.